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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

1940s Diving Baby

It was 1948 when this article appeared in Life magazine.

Eleven month old Sherry Lynn Whitford can also dive, even though she is still unable to walk. 

The wide eyed infant scooting through the water is the worlds most precious swimmer. She can't walk but she can swim several times a day as she dog paddles across a 30 foot swimming pool in Los Angeles. Sherry Lynn revealed aquatic talent at the age of 6 weeks, and early instruction consisted of teaching her to use her arms for propulsion. She caught on after they were moved back and forth some 500 times, and she was able to swim for the first time at the age of 7 months.

Baby Sherry Lynn Whitford dives 2 feet under water, keeping eyes wide open as she gets ready to paddle back to the surface.

Diving was possible after Sherry Lynn had learned to extend her arms to break the shock of hitting water. Instructor Crystal Scarborough, who is Sherry Lynn's cousin, considers her the most promising of 40-odd babies she has taught to swim and thinks she is a sure bet for the 1964 Olympics.

Baby dives by being dropped into the water headfirst by Miss Scarborough. To get into the pool by herself she sits on the edge and simply flops off.

Look at those swimsuits!

Baby swims, she has no sense of direction but will follow instructor. not strong enough to raise up for a gulp of air, she crosses the pool on one breath. 

Right now exactly one third of Sherry Lynn's vocabulary concerns swimming. She says "Mama," Dada," - "dive."

I found a small snippet of her in video form at British Pathe. Enjoy!


1 comment:

Karen said...

There are a few homemovies out there of Esther Williams teaching her brood of 4 kids to swim at VERY early ages, along with Bob Cummings! Seen them on cable access and at TCM Film Fest. Fascinating!!!